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    Central banker murder suspect asks to return to court

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    MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) - The main suspect in the murder of a top Russian banking regulator wants to be re-admitted to his trial after being removed from the court on Tuesday, his lawyer said.

    Central Bank Deputy Chairman Andrei Kozlov, who oversaw bank licensing and led efforts to close down dozens of banks, including over money laundering, was shot dead along with his driver in September 2006.

    The main suspect in the case is former banker Alexei Frenkel. He has been in custody since January 2007. Frenkel, along with restaurant owner Liana Askerova, whose testimony led to his arrest, and Boris Shafrai, a Ukrainian businessman, are accused of organizing the murder.

    "Frenkel believes holding a court investigation in his absence is impossible, as his lawyers are not familiar with the criminal case materials, and he has questions for the eyewitnesses," lawyer Ruslan Koblev said.

    He said a ruling on Frenkel's petition will be made not before Monday, as hearings have been postponed until April 28.

    A Moscow City Court judge removed Frenkel from the court session on Tuesday after, as Koblev said, "Frenkel voiced his objections to the presiding judge's actions."

    Another four people have been charged with involvement in the murder. Another suspect is on the international wanted list.

    Investigators said Frenkel paid $300,000 for the murder, and that the perpetrators received $3,000 to $8,500 and intermediaries over $80,000 each.

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